Agnes Whitingdon c. John Ely

In January 1487, Agnes Whitingdon sued John Ely to enforce a marriage contract they allegedly made in September 1486. Ely claimed he had not contracted marriage with her, although they had had some discussions about it: he laid out a specific dowry he required as a minimum. Witnesses, on the other hand, testified that theyContinue reading “Agnes Whitingdon c. John Ely”

Richard Tymond c. Margery Sheppard

Around mid-year in 1487, Richard Tymond sued Margery Sheppard to enforce a marriage contract they allegedly made in May 1486. When examined, Sheppard said that Tymond had urged her to marry him in late March and again in late June 1486, but she had told him on both occasions that she would not marry withoutContinue reading “Richard Tymond c. Margery Sheppard”

John Brocher c. Joan Cardif alias Peryn

In July 1487, John Brocher sued a young Essex widow, Joan Cardif alias Peryn, to enforce a marriage contract he claimed they had made the previous April. The witnesses – who included Cardif’s own mother and stepfather, both of whom testified against her – said that they had heard the couple exchange vows of marriage.Continue reading “John Brocher c. Joan Cardif alias Peryn”

Alice Rokewode c Peter Hanham

This case offers a rare instance of a man claiming he could only marry with his family’s consent. In November 1487, Alice Rokewood sued Peter Hanham to enforce a marriage contract she claimed they had made in 1485. Rokewode had two witnesses who testified they had witnessed an exchange of present consent. Her father, RobertContinue reading “Alice Rokewode c Peter Hanham”

Margaret Niter and Agnes Skern c. Piers Curtes

This is a juicy case that brought in some of the highest in the land to pressure a reluctant man to go through with a marriage. In January 1488, widows Agnes Skern and Margaret Niter both sued Piers Curtes, each claiming that he had made a contract of marriage with them. Curtes was an importantContinue reading “Margaret Niter and Agnes Skern c. Piers Curtes”

Alice Billingham c John (or Thomas) Wellis

In 1488, Alice Billingam sued John Wellis, claiming that they had contracted marriage on Valentine’s Day 1486. The witnesses for the case had interesting things to say about how an employer might try to find a husband or wife for a servant; what a young man or woman on the market for a spouse wouldContinue reading “Alice Billingham c John (or Thomas) Wellis”

Thomas Wulley c. Margaret Isot and John Heth

This is a fascinating case: witnesses give detailed stories about a local official, with a posse of neighbourhood elders, who burst in on a man and woman, Thomas Wulley and Margaret Isot, engaging in sex.  When questioned, the man claimed that the two were, in fact, husband and wife. Calling their bluff, the official askedContinue reading Thomas Wulley c. Margaret Isot and John Heth

Robert Philipson c Joan Corney

This is a rural Essex case of lovers pledging their love over a fruit tart eaten in a field – until a father’s hostility split them up. In 1489, Robert Philipson sued Joan Corney to enforce a marriage contract he claimed they had made. Corney, when examined, said that she had agreed to marry himContinue reading “Robert Philipson c Joan Corney”

Laurence Wyberd and John Austen c. Maude Gyll

In late 1491, two men – Laurence Wyberd of Essex and John Austen of Shoreditch or London – each claimed that they had made a contract of marriage with Maude Gyll of London. Wyberd’s witnesses (who included his father and brother) gave detailed testimony not only about a contract of marriage just after Christmas 1490 butContinue reading “Laurence Wyberd and John Austen c. Maude Gyll”

Agnes Eston c. John Crosby

In 1494, a young servant woman, Agnes Eston, sued John Crosby, a young man from London’s merchant elite. The two had been spending time alone in her chamber, with her employers encouraging the relationship and turning a blind eye to the impropriety. Eston alleged that the two had exchanged binding vows of marriage, but CrosbyContinue reading “Agnes Eston c. John Crosby”